At a hearing Tuesday, officials with the East Cleveland district told a judge the records are in chaos and that the district expects to spend five years getting them in digital format, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Sowell's lawyers had asked a judge to order the district to give them the records because they are looking for information to be used to argue against the death penalty if their client is convicted.
Officials said there are thousands of boxes, including one group found under a stage at a middle school. While Sowell, 50, attended school in East Cleveland through 1977, knowing the dates won't help, Rufus Sims, one of Sowell's lawyers, told the newspaper after the hearing.
. "We can't even say, 'These boxes are from the 60s, and those are from the 70s.' I'm certainly glad I didn't go to Shaw High School and needed my transcript to go to college," he added.
Police began a homicide investigation in 2009 after a female friend reported Sowell raped her at his home. Officers who went there found two bodies and nine more turned up in crawl spaces, under floors and buried in the yard.